Grants Support Restoration of Southern Forests, Protection of Critical Habitat, Enhancement of Local Economies in Second Year of Landmark Public-Private Partnership
Beaumont, TX - August 18 — The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and International Paper (NYSE: IP) today announced $650,000 in grants to support forestland restoration and working forests throughout the Piney Woods on the Louisiana-Texas border. The National Wild Turkey Federation and Texas A&M Forest Service have been selected to receive grants through the Forestland Stewards Initiative, a partnership of NFWF and International Paper. These grants will leverage nearly $700,000 in additional funds and in-kind support from agency and project partners and will ultimately restore nearly 2,000 acres and enhance an additional 6,500 acres of longleaf pine.
Established in March 2013, the Forestland Stewards Initiative is a pioneering partnership created to conserve and restore southern forestlands representing some of America’s most iconic landscapes. These forests provide critical habitats for endangered wildlife and economic opportunities for local communities. Through the initiative, International Paper has committed $7.5 million over five years to restore native forests, strengthen important fish and wildlife populations and protect watersheds, while at the same time promoting and supporting working forests in eight states across the southeastern United States.
“As we enter our second year of this partnership, the great progress we’ve made underscores International Paper’s commitment to protect and restore forest landscapes for generations to come,” said John Faraci, chairman and CEO of International Paper. “It is a winning scenario that conserves and restores some of nature’s most amazing treasures, provides economic value for landowners and communities, and ensures a sustainable supply of wood to make products that people rely on every day.”
“With this second round of grants through our partnership with International Paper we are advancing conservation in some of the most biologically diverse and culturally iconic landscapes in America,” said David O’Neill, vice president for NFWF’s Conservation Programs. “These grants will lead to on-the-ground improvements that benefit fish and wildlife and strengthen local economies by keeping working forests working.”
“The contributions made by IP and NFWF through the Forestland Stewards Initiative will go a long way to restoring one of the most critical and diverse longleaf forest ecosystems within the state of Texas,” said Hughes Simpson, project manager for the Texas longleaf conservation grant. “The forest sector contributes $27 billion dollars to the Texas economy annually. This project will add to that contribution, through tree planting and active management, which are both essential to have a working and healthy forest.”
Since 2013, NFWF and IP have invested more than $3.3 million in projects through the Forestland Stewards Initiative, and these initial investments have been used to leverage more than $6.7 million in additional funds from grant partners, for a total investment of more than $10 million for forestland conservation. These projects will restore more than 8,000 acres and improve over 98,000 additional acres of native forest and wildlife habitat. Through this initiative, NFWF and IP anticipate that more than 200,000 acres of forestlands will be restored and improved and over 3,000 private landowners engaged through outreach and technical assistance to implement forest stewardship practices, benefitting numerous species and supporting working forests in three priority regions in the Southeast: The Carolina Low Country Forests, Cumberland Plateau of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee and the Piney Woods of Texas and Louisiana.
About the Grants:
Partner Organization: Texas A&M Forest Service
Title: Facilitating Longleaf Conservation in the Longleaf Ridge Significant Geographic Area
Objective: Target on-the-ground restoration efforts through coordinated technical assistance, education, outreach, and improved organizational capacity around the Angelina and Sabine National Forests.
Award Amount: $300,000
Project Description: The Texas Longleaf Pine Implementation Team – including the Texas A&M Forest Service and partner organizations – will restore 800 acres of longleaf and enhance 4,400 acres of existing longleaf habitat through prescribed fire and mid-story hardwood treatment. The project will educate at least 150 private landowners on longleaf ecology and related resources and provide targeted technical assistance to engage them in available longleaf stewardship programs. The project also will hire a partnership coordinator and create a longleaf suitability database to enhance organizational capacity and guide future restoration efforts.
Project Partners: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Texas Forestry Association, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, Campbell Global and private landowners
Partner Organization: National Wild Turkey Federation
Title: Restoring Longleaf Pine in West Central Louisiana
Objective: Advance the West-Central Louisiana Ecosystem Partnership and engage private landowners to expand protected wildlife corridors linking public and private lands through longleaf restoration and enhancement within the Fort Polk/Kisatchie National Forest Signification Geographic Area (SGA).
Award Amount: $350,000
Project Description: The West-Central Louisiana Ecosystem Partnership will restore at least 1,000 acres of longleaf pine and enhance 2,100 additional acres of longleaf to expand protected wildlife corridors that link public and private lands within the Fort Polk/Kisatchie National Forest SGA. The National Wild Turkey Federation and partners will provide management plans and cost-share incentives for private landowners to restore longleaf and maintain and improve understory. The project also will coordinate site visits by forestry and wildlife professionals to support and encourage longleaf restoration and management efforts and provide verified, updated reporting. Efforts will support the mission of Fort Polk by broadening the ecological base of the longleaf pine ecosystem surrounding the installation.
Project Partners: The Nature Conservancy, Hancock Timber Company, Resource Management Service, Campbell Global, Weyerhaeuser, LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, LA Department of Agriculture and Forestry, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, West Central LA Ecosystem Partners, Practicing Foresters Institute and Fort Polk
Learn more about Forestland Stewards at: www.nfwf.org/forestlandstewards.
About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation:
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation's fish, wildlife and habitats. Working with federal agencies, corporations, foundations and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.3 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
About International Paper
International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a global leader in packaging and paper with manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia and North Africa. Its businesses include industrial and consumer packaging and uncoated papers. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., the company employs approximately 65,000 people and is strategically located in more than 24 countries serving customers worldwide. International Paper net sales for 2013 were $29 billion. For more information about International Paper, its products and stewardship efforts, visit internationalpaper.com.